Falling rocks kill Hongkonger and injure another during climb on Swiss mountain

Group of four were on a trekking trip in Europe and previously scaled other peaks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 11:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2017, 12:19am

A Hongkonger was killed and another injured after the pair were struck by falling snow and rocks while climbing a Swiss mountain last Thursday.

They were part of a group of four Hong Kong mountaineers scaling the south face of Eiger, a 3,967-metre peak in the Bernese Alps, near Grindelwald in Bern.

The accident happened at about 1.40pm Swiss time, according to local media.

The group were hiking on the Obers Ischmeer glacier and heading towards Eismeer railway station, an underground structure dug into the mountain on the Jungfrau Railway, reports stated.

One of the team members, 42, was severely injured when he was hit by the falling rocks. He died at the scene.

Conway Leung Nim-ho, 61, the group’s leader, sustained injuries to his leg. He was sent to a local medical facility by rescuers.

Two other male team members were unhurt.

According to reports, Leung was still in the country on Tuesday. He told media: “I am OK. No problem, thanks.”

Leung also told reporters that just before the group encountered the incident, military planes had roared past at low altitude.

“I was leading the group and when I looked back, the snow and the rocks came [down on us] ... the three members were hit and I called for help immediately.”

The two uninjured members later returned to Hong Kong.

Local authorities in Bern are investigating.

Officers from the Hong Kong Immigration Department arrived at the location last week to provide help to the group, liaising with the Chinese embassy in Switzerland.

Before the incident, Leung had been posting messages, pictures and videos of their trip on his Facebook page.

The team flew to Europe earlier this month and had visited Mont Blanc and Aiguille Du Midi before tackling Breithorn and Eiger.

On September 16, the group successfully reached the top of the 4,164-metre Breithorn on the border between Switzerland and Italy. They also made a video clip of their conquest with a drone.

Veteran Hong Kong mountaineer Chung Kin-man said the famous Eiger mountain, known for its loose rocks, was not a popular choice for climbers from Hong Kong partly because of the more expensive accommodation and arrangements in the area.

The Matterhorn on the border between Switzerland and Italy was preferred by climbers.

Mountaineers usually chose to climb in winter when the snow would be more stable and therefore safer to trek on.